Steamboats of Lake Washington

It’s been a while since we had a history post. But recently I came across an article on the steamboats of Lake Washington that brought up the subject, together with a couple of unanswered questions.

To set the stage here’s a photo of a steamboat. Strangely, searching Flickr for photos of working steamboats doesn’t work well. Technology epoch mismatch, I suspect. But the Smithsonian delivers:

A while back we examined the disasters of the Ferry Dawn, a plucky ferry that served Mercer Islanders going to and from Leschi.  The Ferry Dawn was once hit by a seaplane and twice sank, the second time apparently the last time as Dawn still sits submerged off the coast of Mercer Island.

These steamboats started in the 1870s, predating the Dawn. Per Wikipedia:

  • Atlanta left Leschi Park six times daily for points around Mercer Island.”
  • Cyrene left Leschi Park eleven times daily for East Seattle and points on the west side of Mercer Island.”

Which points would it go to, back in the 1800’s? Well, certainly the C.C. Calkins Hotel, a fancy hotel that burned to the ground in 1908 (there’s a photo in the South Island QFC.) But where else? For a guide we can refer to a map showing the age of Mercer Island homes, and then speculate wildly:

  • “Points on the west side of Mercer Island” must have certainly included some areas in Mercerdale, the oldest area on Mercer Island.
  • To some older homes on the east side of Mercer Island, nearest Bellevue?
  • Hunting and fishing resorts or grounds on the south side of the Island, perhaps– we know this was a popular hunting spot.

Any other thoughts? Anyone got an old photo of a Lake Washington steamboat? Any old stories?


One response to “Steamboats of Lake Washington

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Mercer Island Websites « Surrounded By Water: A Mercer Island Blog

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